November 4, 2009

Highland Warriors sworn to protect innocence through the ages...

Ian Maclean’s arrogance hides a terrible secret—for decades he was held prisoner by demons. Not a day goes by that he isn’t tormented by his darkest fears of powerlessness. Now he is about to sell to the highest bidder a page he’s stolen from the Book of Power—if one woman doesn’t stop him.

Every Rose woman has her destiny

Slayer Samantha Rose’s latest mission is to recover the stolen page—and get payback from the only man who’s ever rejected her. What she hasn’t counted on is the raging attraction between them—or her growing realization of what Maclean has survived. As the powers of the evil from his past gather, Sam will do anything to help him—even if it means following him into time and facing his worst nightmares with him...

Ian Maclean is arrogant, wealthy, powerful, selfish and antisocial. These are traits that wouldn’t make a very likeable hero but still he is because his behavior and look on life and the world was profoundly altered after he was killed, revived and held captive for 66 years by his demon grandfather and tortured by said grandfather and his demon friends with their perverted games.

Ever since a demon killed her mother and she wasn’t able to safe her, Sam Rose has taken it upon her to hunt and destroy evil. She is the Slayer of the Rose women. When her job for the Historical Crime Unit (HCU), puts her in the path of Ian Maclean, she has to work together with a man she despises and desires at the same time. While they are both trying to use the other for their own purposes, they are forced to face their fears, enemies and feelings.

Ian fears pain and evil and therefore has wrapped himself in a cocoon of aloofness where he thinks no one can reach him. He needs sex to avoid giving into the horrible flashbacks of his tormented and he uses his wealth to prove to himself he is capable of doing anything he wants and doesn’t have to rely on anyone else for his needs. He may seem the sexy, arrogant, careless playboy but underneath that image he’s build for himself, he is a traumatized man who went through horrors during this abduction and is a long way from recovering from them.

Sam seems to be a free spirit, one who lives life her way, liberated, strong, confident, she doesn’t take crap from anyone, especially men. She is vengeful, smart-mouthed and fearless. Beneath her tough outer shell is a woman who tries to protect herself from hurt by pretending not to care about anything or anyone except fighting evil. She doesn’t allow herself to care because caring means pain when she loses them. She has learned to depend only on herself and her own strength.

Sam and Ian are like to peas from the same pod. They both like to be in control, both like to win, losing is not an option and they always get what they want. This makes them clash like crazy, creating a verbal sparring extravaganza even if they are perfect for each other and they are kindred spirits. From the moment they meet, sparks fly and their interactions and dialogues are sizzling. These two take verbal sparring to a whole other level. I loved the way their romance fitted their characters perfectly. It went from pure sexual attraction to partners fighting evil to love. And both went kicking and screaming all the way. They both crave what the other provides but are not willing to admit it, let alone give into it.

Even though there were many secondary characters, the story focuses mainly on Sam, Ian and their enemies. Nick Forrester, who runs the HCU and is Sam’s boss, is the only character who is deepened out a bit more than the others and I really hope he will get his own book, or at least a substantial secondary storyline in the future. There is just so much surrounding him that intrigues me and arouses my speculative mind.

Am glad I stuck with this series throughout some books that I did not enjoy reading so much (books 2 and 3) because if I had given up on it after the terrible second book I wouldn’t have experienced this amazing and almost perfect installment. This fifth book in the series and final installment of the Rose Trilogy within the series was definitely the best so far. There was no confusing time leaping or messed up chronology. It was the first book in the series that I found easy to follow. The characters were great and the plotline was very good, though I am a bit done now with the resurfacing of Moray (the villain of the series). He’s like the soap opera character that just won’t stay dead. Yet again in this book the solution to the problem of Moray leaves possibilities for resurrection so I won’t be surprised if he shows up again in future installments.

Dark Lover is an action-packed romance novel that is all about freedom, taking control back, despair and passion. It represents the potential of the series and shows Brenda Joyce’s writing talent with strong, willful characters and a well written plot, without distracting and confusing time leaping mechanisms, even if the role of the Masters of Time is less present than in the first 2 books of the series.
Contrary to my normal “stick to the series order” advice I tend to give, in this case, I would recommend the first installment of the series and then this one to readers who’d like to sample this series.

And if you don’t read this book for the romance or plot, you should read it just to discover what intriguing body part adornment Ian has and where it is…and I am not talking tattoos here.

Rating: 8.9 out of 10

My reviews of the other books in this series:


Marissa said...

WOW Pearl another great review! I have some parts of this series but they never made it to my immediate TBR pile...

Smokinhotbooks said...

I've never read this author - so book 5 is a good one to start with? Can I just say the abs on that sexy stud on the cover makes me want to whistle :)

Pearl said...

@smokinhotbooks > To get the know the world of the Masters of Time, I'd advise book 1 first, then skip the others and go straight to this one. If you really like them, then read the books in between, as they were less good IMO than this one. I'd say skip book 2 all together...

Cecile said...

Great review Pearl! Thanks for the honesty about which ones can be skipped. I have seen this one in the stores and I have debated a lot as to whether to get it or not. Because I have figured at the faster way to broke is having to buy allll the books in a series that I have yet to read... with book 7 on the shelves, lmao!!! So thanks for the heads up!

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On My TBR Shelf

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  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
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  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
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  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
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